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New ADCS DCS Update 2020 Press Release

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) today, Thursday 30 April, publishes the directors of children’s services (DCS) update 2020 using data from the Association’s membership year 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

ADCS has gathered and recorded detailed information about changes in post holders of the statutory director of children’s services (DCS) role since the Association was established in 2007. We also record the number of directors who hold both statutory roles of DCS and director of adult social services (DASS), referred to as ‘twin hat’ arrangements. The report offers some year-on-year comparisons, several of which date back to 2007, in order to highlight trends and patterns of change.

Jenny Coles, ADCS President, said:

“Stability of leadership is important in any organisation; in our world of children’s services it is a key part of delivering a coherent system of services for children. During 2019/20, there were a total of 57 changes in DCS postholders, across 48 local authorities. Although there has been more change this year compared to the year before, the majority of councils (103) experienced no change in DCS during the 12 month period. Due to the statutory nature of the role, there must always be a serving DCS in post – many of these changes took place due to interim arrangements pending a permanent appointment.

“By looking at the data in more detail, it is clear that there is a high level of experience and expertise within children’s services leadership, all of the changes across the reporting period were filled by experienced local government leaders, including DCSs moving from one local authority to another, returning to the DCS role, or fulfilling an interim appointment and succession from assistant director level. In addition, the average tenure of a DCS in the same local authority remains similar to last year at 29 months as does the average length of time served as a DCS when factoring in cumulative time spent in multiple local authorities, at almost 4 years.

“In recent years our membership data has shown fewer local authorities are combining their children and adult services directorate, coupled with more councils disaggregating services. As at 31 March, there were 31 ‘twin hat’ directors, the lowest number since 2010. Little can be deduced from this; it is up to councils how they design local systems for the benefit local communities. I imagine we will continue to see roles flex to meet changing local needs.

“For the first time this year we started to collect and report on ethnicity data in a bid to bring greater visibility to the issue of diversity and representation in the DCS community. Put simply there are not enough black and minority ethnic directors across the country. The DCS role is one of the best in local government and although ethnicity is irrelevant to a person’s capability to do the job, as is their age, gender or any disability, supporting anyone working in children’s services to progress to senior and leadership roles, if they wish to, continues to be a focus for local authorities and the Association. It is so important that our workforce reflects our local communities and that the children we work with can see that they too can aspire to be a future leader of children’s services by seeing themselves in the staff who work with them.”


The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) Ltd is the professional leadership association for Directors of Children’s Services and their senior management teams in England.

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